Today I’m sharing a giant set of free picture cards for developing vocabulary, promoting critical thinking, and learning alphabet sounds!
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Today I’m excited to share a project I’ve spent many hours on… alphabet picture cards. If you print the whole download, you get 192 bright photo cards for all kinds of early learning!
10 ways to use my alphabet picture cards
1. Talk about the pictures. My Two was very excited when he saw the cards and wanted to look at the pictures with me. He sat by the window with a small stack and named each picture, with my help. While your child may not want to use them this way, you can talk about the pictures as you sit together.
“What’s this called? What can you do with it? Is it something you would like to eat? Where would you find it?”
(Note: These are not designed to be flash cards. Please remember that young children have short attention spans and may lose interest after a handful of cards. No problem!)
2. Find the picture. Put the cards out in a grid and name the one you want your child to find. This is excellent vocabulary building for toddlers and young preschoolers, who may not know as many words as you think they do.
Case in point: Our Two (soon to be three) is a bright little boy, but often mixes up basic vocabulary. For the longest time whenever a fly came into our house, he would yell, “A bee! A bee!” One day he announced confidently, “Flies make honey!” 🙂
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3. Sort the pictures. We started by sorting the pictures into things we can eat and those we can’t. For a sorting exercise, you’ll probably want to go through the cards and select a stack that will work well for the activity.
Try these sorts for toddlers and preschoolers:animals / not animals things we wear / things we don’t wear things in our house / things outside food I like / food I don’t like
These are more challenging and are best for older preschoolers and up:living / nonliving needs / wants
4. Which one doesn’t belong? This will take a little bit of preparation on your part, but it’s worth it for a fun activity! Set up four cards, and have your child find the picture that doesn’t belong.
The possibilities are endless! You can make these simple or challenging. Here are just a few ideas. Can your child find the one that’s different?3 foods and 1 animal 3 healthy foods and 1 junk food 3 real animals and 1 toy animal 3 vegetables and 1 fruit 3 toys and 1 food 3 musical instruments and 1 household object
5. Find the rhyming picture. Set out a few cards and name a word that rhymes with one of the pictures. Have your child find its matching rhyme. You can use nonsense words too! Don’t be afraid to say, “Can you find the word that rhymes with bapple?”
6. Find the picture with 1, 2, or 3 syllables. For example, put out the carrot, bat, and ambulance cards. Tell your child to find the picture whose name has just one syllable. Help him clap the words so he can identify “bat” as the correct answer.
7. Sort by beginning sound. When you print the alphabet cards (available as a separate download), you can use them as headers for the columns. Give your child just two sets of cards, for two different letters. Help him identify the beginning sound and sort.
8. Sort by ending sound.
9. Can you find the mystery picture? Before children are ready to learn to read, they need to be able to hear how sounds come together. You can practice this with these cards. Put out a set of cards and tell your child, “One of these is the mystery picture! Here’s my clue. I want you to point to the answer.”
Then say the sounds of a word, pausing in between each sound. For example: “/a/ /p/ /l/.” Eventually your child will be able to hear how the sounds come together to make a word, and he’ll choose the picture of the apple.
10. Which picture doesn’t belong?
This time, instead of focusing on what the pictures mean, focus on the words themselves. Help your child know what you’re looking for.All of these pictures start with the same letter, except one. Which one doesn’t belong? All of these have 3 syllables, except one. Which one doesn’t belong? All of these end with the /t/ sound, except one. Which one doesn’t belong?
What you’ll get in the download:
- 8 bright photo cards for each letter (but only 4 for letters q, x, y, and z)
- For each vowel, you’ll find 4 pictures for the short sound and 4 pictures for the long sound.
- For letters c and g, you’ll find 4 pictures for the hard sound and 4 pictures for the soft sound.
Want to save printer ink?
Print the smaller set. You’ll get just 4 pictures for each letter, but you’ll still get 8 total pictures for each vowel. You’ll also have 8 total pictures for letters c and g.
How to print
How to store
This may be the coolest part! I designed the cards to fit in 3×5 index card boxes. Get a long box or two smaller ones to store the entire set (the smaller set will store in just one small box). Be sure to get some A-Z dividers so you can find what you need in a hurry.
Get your free alphabet picture cards!
Alphabet Curriculum for Preschool
Our curriculum includes lessons for teaching both upper and lowercase letter names and sounds. You’ll get three lessons per letter, built-in review, simple handwriting practice, rhyming, syllable counting, phonemic awareness, and a whole lot more!